American Life in Poetry: Column 549

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Glenna Luschei, who makes her home in California, has traveled the world, and like all good poets has paid attention to what she’s seen. Here’s a fine poem not from Cambodia or Greece but from Tucson, about the belongings some of us leave behind for others to carry ahead. It’s from her book, The Sky Is Shooting Blue Arrows, from University of New Mexico Press.

Comings and Goings

In Tucson
when a university student
goes home
she might leave her desk
and a chair, a bookcase outside her cave
with a sign, “Take me.”

And who could resist
heat radiating over furniture
like a mirage? You hoist
an old Victrola into your pickup
and ratchet up a new song.

You start that life in the West,
invent a past, and when that tune
winds down, it’s okay to put out,
“Take me.”

What do we have in life
but comings and goings?


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2014 by Glenna Luschei, “Comings and Goings,” from The Sky Is Shooting Blue Arrows, (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of Glenna Luschei and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2018 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.